Tom Head’s Nottingham Forest blog: Remembering Brian Clough

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There really is only one place to start this week; Eight years ago, the master tactician, and one of the most glittering personalities of the 20th century, left this earth so he could go and give God some friendly advice.

Perhaps ‘glittering’ is one of the more apt words to evaluate Brian Clough too. His love of the limelight, and radiant demeanour made him so much more than a studious pioneer of man-management.

If he wasn’t threatening to shoot a player for a glaring miss in training, he was basking in the studio lights of a Michael Parkinson chat show, offering to fight Muhammed Ali, or sharing his “20-minute discussion” policy when a player believed he was in the wrong.

The week surrounding the 20th September - the date of Clough’s passing - are days of raw emotion for those touched by the grace of Old Big ‘Ead.

There is something about the subsequent match-day that seems to be a great deal more significant than most others.

Win this, and we get the posthumous thumbs up from Brian... Admittedly, he’d probably throw in a few expletives and lament any pass that lifted more than six feet off the ground, but we would not have it any other way.

A monumental week requires a monumental performance... So it HAD to be Leeds away this time, didn’t it?

Whilst we are on a lovely, sentimental trip down memory lane, this seems like the perfect time to bring up our last visit to Elland Road.

Living in Leeds as a student at the time, I have never known a pleasure quite as perverse as walking around Headingley, altering the lyrics to that Beatles’ classic ‘Let It Be’, to ‘Seven-Three’.

Given my behaviour, I could have joined Leeds United on the severe beating front.

What was also incredible about that result was the day on which it fell: The day before what would have been Brian Clough’s 77th birthday. Timing like that is enough to make you consider how wonderful serendipity can be.

If a seven-goal salute was befitting for a 77th birthday, could we start fantasising about what would be the perfect tribute to an eight-year anniversary?

Of course, as fun and intriguing as patterns in football can be, we may have to actually turn up and play a bit tomorrow.

In our first six games, we have somewhat flattered to deceive - nobody was expecting miracles from what is essentially a brand new team - yet remain unbeaten, despite a thoroughly questionable display against Crystal Palace on Tuesday.

I’m an advocate of the theory that a hallmark of a great team is one that can pick up points when they aren’t firing on all cylinders, but try telling Sean O’Driscoll that.

The most pragmatic man you could wish to meet certainly does not care for stumbling your way to a result.

Interesting. A manager who prefers a good philosophy to results, and squeezes the very best form out of his players... Who does that remind you of?